Barry Gardiner warns Labour MPs not to be 'selfish' in Brexit cash-for-votes row

Posted On: 
3rd February 2019

Labour MPs who back Theresa May on Brexit in return for much-needed investment in their constituencies would be acting “selfishly,” a Shadow Cabinet member said today.

Barry Gardiner appeared on the Andrew Marr show
Credit: 
BBC

Barry Gardiner warned colleagues it would be wrong to want “a little bit of extra money” for their seats and not “mind” about the rest of the country.

It comes after reports that the Prime Minister has been approaching Labour MPs in hard-up areas with new funding settlements for their constituencies in exchange for support for her Brexit deal.

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Labour MP John Mann - who is one of the figures targeted - has insisted the offer is not “transactional”. But the issue has sparked a civil war in the Labour party.

The tension continued today as Labour frontbenchers took to the airwaves to urge their colleagues not to be “fooled” with “bribes” from Downing Street.

Mr Gardiner argued that the Labour manifesto in 2017 contained an investment plan that would have benefitted the entire country - not just individual seats.

“Anyone who reflects on the manifesto they stood on and the benefit that would do for the whole of the country in getting investment through would have to say ‘I can't just be selfish about this'," he told the BBC Andrew Marr show.

“‘I can’t simply take care of my own immediate community. We have to take care of the whole country and that’s why we need the investment programme that Labour put forward’.”

He added: “Why would you as an MP, as a Labour MP who stood on that manifesto, say ‘you know what, if I can get a little bit of money extra into my constituency I don’t mind about the rest of the country not getting what actually we promised in our manifesto?'”

And he insisted: "My vote is not for sale."

DO NOT BE 'FOOLED'

Meanwhile, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti told the Sophy Ridge show on Sky News Labour MPs should not be "fooled" by "short-term, isolated bribes" from No 10.

And appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live show Pienaar’s Politics, Shadow Cabinet Minister Jon Trickett said: “I don’t care if there is a temptation or not, I don’t think anyone is going to fall for it...

“A few crumbs off the table won’t satisfy those communities. I won’t fall for it.”

It comes after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused Theresa May of “pork-barrel” politics and argued “contractual arrangements” like the Tory confidence and supply deal with the DUP were “dangerous for democracy”.

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed Downing Street was considering a “national renewal” programme to help tackle inequality in communities after Brexit, but said the plans were not a “cash for votes” scheme.

And Mr Mann said: "This isn't transactional politics, this is about getting a national fund... the areas that voted Leave the most are the areas that have not had that investment."